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How Far Out Is Out There For a Honda Concept Chopper

I must admit to finding the recent trend in concept motorcycles a touch played out.

How many bikes need to come off the drawing board in the “Tron Light Cycle” genre before we all heave a collective wretch and demand something that looks like a motorcycle and has a whiff of the realistic about it.

At this point when I see one of these creations, all I can think of is that some gamer geek (who does not and never will ride an actual motorcycle) spent a couple afternoons hunched over his keyboard trying to come up with something that will impress his pals at the Star Trek convention.

This one, a “radical Honda Chopper,” sprung from the imagination of one Peter Norris, designer of a Pininfarina Coupe Concept car which generated some buzz recently. I think he needs to stay with the cars….

It could well be that I’m the only one who’s less than impressed with this kind of idea.

A reviewer for Top Speed says this atrocity “features clean functional lines of medical machinery, 70’s and 80’s marker drawings and design (such as Big Trak), and a bit of manga thrown in.”

That may well be, but I don’t want any of that in a motorcycle. I want them to be real-world, sensible and most of all, rideable. A motorcycle should first and foremost be an expression of utility in motion – a thing that goes, not a thing that looks.

The long front suspension would force the riders feet forward  to a degree that looks just plain uncomfortable and the damn thing looks too long to turn around in any parking lot yet paved. Add to that the fact that it’s powered by twin electric motors set inside each wheel hub and all I’m feeling is the sneaking suspicion that electronics + road grime = many trips to the appliance repair store and not so much riding.

It would make nearly no noise, ride low enough to the ground to ensure that a squirrel would bounce over the front fender and hit you square in the chest should you encounter one on the road and, while it might impress your standard non-riding Manga fan, does not set my heart aflutter.

But, to each his own, and I must admit that I’m still trying to battle my Inner Luddite over the idea that a “smart phone” or a camera that talks to me are good ideas.

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